I became a Blues fan only after Roman Abramovich bought over Chelsea Football Club from Ken Bates, the previous owner. I was swayed by his ‘outsider’ status in English Football, a position he came to share with Mohamed Al Fayed, the owner of Fulham Football Club and luxury retailer Harrods.
My sympathy for the club and their owner increased when the club hired the brash and unpredictable Jose Mourhino as their manager. I remember his press conferences in his early days at the Bridge; his ‘talk-up’ and mind-games which could be likened to stoking up the flames before a ‘war’ was cherished by
Because of Mourhino, I bought my first ever football shirt, it was a
Despite the cynicism and flak Mourhino constantly received from the British press, Chelsea fans adored and stood by him. Not even UEFA’s accusation that Mourhino was an ‘enemy of football’ could dissuade the teeming supporters from giving their football lives to their ‘messiah’.
Buoyed by the Abramovich war chest, the great Mourhino football ensemble began. In just one season (2004/2005), he put together the most expensive football squad ever fielded by any football team in the Premier league. The players marched on like true foot soldiers and mowed down teams, it was brash and brawn over beauty. Match after match, Chelsea would grind out results. The press would write, the other teams would complain but we would go home with our three points and subsequently Premiership trophies in season one and two of Mourhino being in charge.
And then the accusations came, from fans of Arsenal Football, the North London team that plays football with a flair, from Manchester United Football club fans, the team with good football tradition; they labelled all
By season three, our games had become boring, our wins hard fought, painful and excruciating. We began to leave things to the last minute and failed repeatedly to put matches beyond the reach of opposition teams. For many
And in season three came the spat and square – up between owner and manager. The ‘rumble in the bridge’ was only going to produce one winner – the owner.
By season four, the handwriting was clear on the wall for all to see, the joy had disappeared from the ‘special one’s’ face. It was the same excuse again that cost
What more could be done? At work on Wednesday, the morning after the Rosenborg game, I told my colleagues Mike Gallagher (also a
It has turned out that the ‘Special One’ is not so very special after all; his fire brigade approach to football management seems to suggest that he is a man for the short-term.
Mourhino did not help matters either with his several conspiracy theories, in the end the fans and the club owner got tired of his ‘we against them’ antics, a tactic that ate into the time which should have been used up by serious footballing matters, he ended up making Chelsea Football Club ‘public enemy’ number one, something at cross purposes with the owner’s and management objectives. They want the club to be loved, only that way could fans buy shirts and other sports memorabilia, and also buy match tickets. Take for instance the glaring attendance statistics from this week’s Champions league games. While only 24,973 fans saw
Jose Mourhino deserves his £10 million severance pay packet, not bad for his 3 years tour of duty which produced 124 wins, 40 draws and 21 losses, including a record 60-match unbeaten run in Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge, of course not forgetting his 5 trophy haul over the three seasons (2 League tiles, 2 Carling cups and 1 FA cup), which football fans would argue Chelsea ‘bought’.
Mourhino’s departure from
In the meantime, someone please pass me a ticket to an Arsenal game, I would love to go and see the Wenger boys and the resurgent Arsenal team in action, but with still my